Terry's Agility Index

Recently, I was chatting with my friend (and a LeSS site developer) Terry Yin and we were reflecting on two different product development efforts.

He had been working with a client and the Sprint Review was boring as hell. People didn’t really care. Also the teams didn’t care whether they had done items during the Sprint anyways. When debugging this a bit more, it seems to relate to fixed-scope assumptions. Even though they said they had adopted LeSS, they still had this mindset of a fixed scope for a release. So, the Sprint Review led to no learning and no action, and the Sprints felt artificial.

On another effort where we were working together (smaller), we noticed that it was common to have the Sprint have all new items that weren’t in the Product Backlog in the previous Sprint. Most of the items were discovered during the Sprint Review. The backlog and scope was changing constantly. We kept a Release Burndown chart and it was going up, down, up, down, up and then when we decided to release, down in a straight vertical line.

The difference… true agile exploration vs agile movements in a traditional setting.

So, half jokingly, we came up with “Terry’s Agility Index” which we defined as:

The percentage of new items during the Sprint that came out of the Sprint Review.

Since then, I’ve mentioned it a couple of times and it often surprised people. Lots of so called “agile” projects would have a Terry’s Agility Index of 0%. Now, 100% is probably not good either, but it is an interesting quick way of checking how fixed the fixed-scope mindset is in a product group.

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